Indictment charges alleged suspect with arson at Mozza
Sylmar man was charged on Aug. 3 in a federal grand jury indictment alleging that he deliberately started a fire in the Mozza restaurant complex at Highland and Melrose avenues during civil disturbances on May 30.
Mario Ernesto Alvarado, 42, is charged with one count of arson. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 10 in United States District Court. Alvarado was arrested on a federal criminal complaint in this case on July 16. He remains free on $25,000 bail.
Alvarado allegedly entered the building, poured a flammable liquid on the floor and set it on fire, according to the indictment. Arson investigators determined that the fire caused $500,000 in structural damage, with an additional $50,000 in fire damage to restaurant merchandise and property. At the time of the fire, the restaurant and shop were closed due to a curfew order.
On June 29, the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department posted a press release seeking information leading to the arrest of several alleged arsonists suspected of starting fires across Los Angeles during May’s civil disturbances. Alvarado was identified by a member of the public as one of the alleged arsonists, according to court documents.
An alleged accomplice in the fire at the Mozza complex, Julian Mejia, 34, has also been arrested and is facing arson charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.